NORWEGIAN Cruise Line (NCL) said it will call on four destinations in the Philippines and make port calls with two new ships that will service mainly destinations elsewhere in Asia.

The US company’s new ships, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Sky, will deploy to the Asia-Pacific between October 2024 and May 2025, offering stops in Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Jewel will be deployed on an 11-day cruise out of Manila that will call on Boracay, Palawan, and the Port of Salomague in Ilocos Sur.

“Asia is a significant market for us as a source market and as a destination. The Philippines is well-known for its pristine beaches, vibrant culture, friendly people and unique cuisine,” Ben Angell, NCL vice-president and Asia-Pacific managing director, told BusinessWorld in an e-mail.

In total, Norwegian Jewel will make 12 port calls to Philippine destinations between November 2023 and February 2024, as part of a broader Asian cruise service.

Mr. Angell added that offering a cruise that begins in Manila will allow “international guests the chance to explore this beautiful part of the world, at the same time as offering Filipinos the chance to cruise with us right from their doorstep.”

Tourism Secretary Christina G. Frasco is positioning the Philippines for growth in the travel market, pitching Filipino warmth and hospitality as a selling point.

“Our participation is pursuant to further positioning the Philippines as a tourism powerhouse in Asia, and hopefully the world in the years ahead,” she said in a statement.

In 2022, the Philippines received a total of 39,013 visitors from Germany, 23,949 from France, 19,306 from the Netherlands, 11,092 from Switzerland, and 8,964 from Belgium, according to the Department of Tourism data — all markets the Philippines is trying to expand in. — Brontë H. Lacsamana